Ways We Piss Off Our Immune System: Creating Negative Head Space

Think of your immune system as the Gatekeeper for the entrance to your Happy Place. If the gatekeeper is pissed off—or even just a little upset—you might not be able to get in to your Happy Place.

This means you will be sick, suffer from aches and pains, be low energy, have your sleep cycle disrupted leaving you either needing to sleep a great deal even if you don’t want to, or unable to sleep, even when you want to, be susceptible to colds and flu and mystery ailments, and generally feel like crap. You might even develop an anxiety disorder.

If your Gatekeeper is in a good mood, feeling generous and expansive, you’re going to get V.I.P. treatment, getting ushered in without reservation, able to have energy for your life, sleep well and have capacity for enjoyment and engagement in life and relationships.

How can we piss off that Gatekeeper, the immune system? It’s easy and we have all done it. Here are a couple of ways:

  • When you’re driving, let drivers know what you think of their driving, either out loud or just in your head. Maybe you think you’re kind and considerate so you don’t roll down your window and yell or gesture—no matter. Whether you’re giving outward expression to your anger or not, you’ll put lots of negative neurotransmitters into circulation throughout your body, putting your nervous system into readiness for either fight or flight—what the experts call acute stress response. This shuts down the body’s ability to rest and digest, shunting vital energy to the limbs and, in the process, shutting down the immune system.


  • You don’t have to stop at inconsiderate drivers. You can have arguments—even in your head—with family members, co-workers, inconsiderate, unconscious pedestrians.


  • How about politics? I’ll bet you can have a few internal fights with a few people with political views that differ from yours.


  • And then there are sports. Players, managers, owners, pundits, and referee’s. So many to choose from.

Okay, so joking aside, we all need to find out what and who presses our buttons, sending us into fight or flight and shutting down the immune system, so that we can avoid those situations and people—or at least reduce our exposure to them and, with practice, reduce our reactivity.

Because trash talk, even if it is directed at well-deserving others, and even if it is in our heads, hurts us. It puts so many negative chemicals in the body and causes so much constriction in our muscles and posture.  Over time this leads to dis-ease. 

We don’t want to give the Gatekeeper a reason to keep us out of our Happy Place.

Next time: Creating Positive Head Space to Enhance Our Immune System

Connie M. Warden

Well-Being Warrior